Japanese Twitter users weigh in on thought-provoking post discussing the qualities that make Yubaba an effective manager.

When people think of Studio Ghibli’s 2001 animated masterpiece Spirited Away, one of the first characters that undoubtedly comes to mind is the antagonist Yubaba. With an oversized head, trademark mole over her hooked nose, and thick fingers weighed down by glittering stones, she’s one animated witch that certainly leaves a lasting impression–for better or for worse.

▼ Either way, you definitely want to stay on her good side.


People usually dwell on Yubaba’s less-redeeming and selfish qualities as she stands in the way of Chihiro breaking her parents’ curse. However, 17 years after the film was first released, one exchange between Japanese Twitter users @otobono and @sa_tu_ki05 has now prompted others to consider Yubaba in a new light, especially regarding her managerial abilities as the owner of the Bathhouse in the film. Read the exchange below beginning with @otobono’s original post:


“In the past, I used to think that Yubaba was just a cruel witch. Now, however, I’ve come to think that she’s a talented managerial witch for giving work to anyone who wants it, praising even newcomers if they do good work, and personally handling unreasonable customers as the boss.”

Come to think of it, Yubaba did relent to Chihiro’s insistent pleas to let her work at the bathhouse despite her being a human. She also complimented Chihiro for a job well-done after releasing the River Spirit from its polluted state and also stood up to No-Face when it went rampaging and began harming her workers. Her words may be harsh at times, but her actions could be interpreted as her prioritizing a no-nonsense, business-first type of attitude.

@sa_tu_ki05’s reply:


“It seems that this is exactly the kind of thinking that Japan needs at the moment. What can be gained from the desire to work and the need to work? Because Japan can’t comprehend that, it’s going to become the number one country in Asia that doesn’t want to work with laborers from abroad.”


“Yeah, it feels like that…if you think about things recently, even though some people work part-time because they want money, there have been people who say, ‘Even at a part-time job, you should act like a manager’. But their rights and salary are different, so that doesn’t make sense to me.”



“I’m sorry, but if everyone had that level of consciousness at their part-time jobs, you managers would feel cornered!”

▼ Speaking of which, cornering people appears to be another one of Yubaba’s specialties.

These thoughts echo some realities of Japan’s current economic woes, which include an overall shrinking and aging population, stringent working requirements, and talks regarding the demand for foreign workers in the years to come. They also prompted some net users to change their views of Yubaba as a potential boss, while others remained skeptical:

“My assessment of her changed with this one tweet.”
“We should have all of the managers in Japan aspire to be like Yubaba.”
“I’ve seen the film countless times on TV but I just can’t think of Yubaba as a cruel witch…”
“Nope, she’s still terrible.”
“Is she really being an ideal boss by stealing someone’s true name so that they can’t run away…?”

Regardless of whether you think Yubaba is an effective manager or not, we think most people would agree that she would make a better boss than Voldemort…

Source: Twitter/@otobono via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@kei_2047_game